By John Fullilove, jacksons.tv
jacksons.tv: Where did your positive outlook in life develop from?
Clay Guida: My positive outlook on life came from my parents, their hard work and work ethic. Also, look what I do for a living. You know people call it a job but I don’t even consider it a job. It’s a career, obviously, because it pays my bills and stuff like that. I guess it’s a hobby because I wake up excited every morning. I’m privileged. People say i
t’s a privilege to have a driver’s license; it’s a privilege to be a professional fighter. It’s not for everyone. It’s an honor to do what I do and be somewhat good at it. I have a lot of fun every day. I wake up hungry knowing that the main goal is having fun obviously, I have fun every day, but the goal is that shiny belt--getting my hand raised and having that belt and putting on a show for the fans. I go to bed excited and hungry every night knowing I get to wake up in the morning and do it all over again. My parents are big supporters; my positive outlook comes from my family. We (my family) struggled. We were very, very, very middle class family. We come from not very much. My dad was one of nine kids. My grandpa worked two and three jobs growing up in Chicago. My grandma worked a couple of jobs. They all lived in a real small house in Chicago. We were very fortunate where we started, where we’re coming from and more importantly where we are going to in the future. It’s pretty simple, nothing very special to it. The special part is the family. It’s a very tight knit background. My mom comes from a smaller family but very middle class as well. She works hard. She worked a couple of jobs back home in the pediatrics field with kids. She and my dad are my biggest supporters. It’s amazing. My brother is also a professional fighter as well. We are very happy to do this as a living and put on a show for fans. I’m just happy to be part of Greg Jackson’s Team and it’s more a family atmosphere than anything. We are very, very fortunate.
jacksons.tv: You are such a hard worker here in the gym and that requires so much discipline. You are also such a free sprit as well. How do you reconcile those two together?
Clay Guida: Well, people see the hair and stuff like that or how I dress. I dress a little bit different. Just shorts all the time, jerseys and sometimes not a shirt. It’s hot out here and I’m not going to lie. I like to be comfortable. I’m not the flashy type. I had a very short time in college. One thing I want to do in my life is get my associates degree, a degree from college. I kind of went to school for the wrong reasons –it’s safe to say. I went to wrestle. Wrestling was first and school was second. Having a good time in wrestling was first and school was always put on the back burner. After I get that belt and defend it for several times I would love to go back and make my parents even more proud by holding up a small little associate’s degree. I don’t even know if it will get you a job in today’s day and age with the downturn in the economy. I found my niche in life and it’s entertaining people, challenging myself every day, competing professionally, and competing against myself. It’s not always in the cage, meeting someone or helping someone out- helping people out and learning something different each day, saying hi to someone new each day. Those are little things like that brighten my day and hopefully brighten others’ around me.
jacksons.tv: You love music. What are your thoughts on music, likes or dislikes?
Clay Guida: Music is a huge influence in my life. I don’t do any justice to a guitar. I couldn’t even tell you how to hold a guitar properly. I would love to learn how to play the drums. I don’t really dislike any music. I don’t own any country albums. I don’t own any rap albums. I enjoy hip hop. I enjoy rock n’ roll and classic rock. I like a lot of jam bands , bands like the Grateful Dead and Phish. I like Led Zeppelin and older music. I like new age. I really don’t dislike any music but I’m not a fan of a lot of the newer pop top 40 stuff like that. I think a lot of that is premeditated by producers. I don’t think it’s some of these artists’ own music. If it is ,then more power to them and whatever sells. The Beatles are my favorite band. I like Sublime. I went and saw Iron Maiden in Albuquerque. I watch metal bands and stuff like that. A big influence of mine is what is going to get people on their feet before I fight. I love surprising the crowd. People ask me, “What are you coming out to this time for your next fight?” I don’t tell my mom, my manager, my brother, it’s a surprise that I keep for fight night. Keeps everyone kind of guessing.
jacksons.tv: You’re from Round Lake, Illinois which is close to Rockford. Cheap Trick is from Rockford – are you a fan of Cheap Trick?
Clay Guida: Definitely a big fan of Cheap Trick. They call it one of the largest musical festivals in the world and they call it Summer Fest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin-over a hundred bands. I think it’s about a week of music. It’s on the lake front, Lake Michigan, right in Milwaukee. Cheap Trick plays there every year. They’re amazing. My buddies and I always go to cheer them on. They put on a great show for everybody.
jacksons.tv: Coach Jackson talks about artistry in MMA just like in music that you like. Do you think you’re an artist when you’re out there competing and creating a fight with the other guy?
Clay Guida: That’s a good point. Not when I’m in there do I think I’m an artist but I think each type of entertainment is a bit of an art form. Mine’s pretty ugly with hair flying and taking guys down, hairy chest, burping in the middle of my ights and stuff like that. It’s definitely not the prettiest art form but it’s more entertaining. I think some of my performances speak for themselves, you know fight of the night, fight of the year, blah, blah, blah. I don’t get caught up in all that. But once I’m out there in the cage I’m not thinking, “Ok, I got to look while I’m doing this.” To me that’s thinking too much. I would take myself out of my comfort zone. I just go out there and perform. When you look back later you kind of watch the crowd and they might tell you that I’m some sort crazy-Tasmanian artist or something. Like I said, I’m not trying to do that in the cage. I just go out there and it’s reaction and instinct.
Clay Guida: I would like to give a shout out to my family first. I would like to thank my mom and my dad; they are a couple of my biggest supporters. Most of all, I would like to thank my brother for getting me into this sport of MMA. Fighting has changed my life. Without fighting we would have never have met. I wouldn’t be sitting in this office or in Albuquerque right now. I want to thank my sister. She’s in the medical field, physical therapy, so she helps me and my brother with all of our bumps and bruises. I would like to thank her and her husband. My nieces and nephews – they think we are still wrestling. We try to keep it like that because they are still young. There are some sponsors I would love to thank. Muscle Pharm for all the supplement and support. Silver Star Clothing, check out the new Clay Guida “The Carpenter” signature series walk-out Tee for UFC 117. It has a very big music influence. It’s going to be awesome! I would love to thank MMA stop, mmastop.com, VF Elite Marketing Agency. I would love to thank the guys down at the Hard Rock and Isleta Lakes for showing me support and letting me hangout down there at the RV Park. It’s very quiet and peaceful. I would also like to thank Jaco Fight wear. They are a big support system of mine. They are doing my shorts and I’d like to show love to them, those guys are great. I want to thank Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn and everyone here at the camp. We are going to have a lot more big wins and a lot more fun to come.